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First Impressions: Mario & Luigi RPG 3

Posted by Stuart Reddick

Mario and Luigi return to the DS in their third humorous adventure.

Mario and Luigi have been to some pretty bizarre places, but none as weird as where they end up in Mario and Luigi RPG 3. You see, a mysterious epidemic is raging through the Mushroom Kingdom, causing people to inflate many times their normal size. The residents of the kingdom decided to unite in order to confront the disease, only to have their party crashed by a massive Bowser, who’s under the control by a mysterious villain, Gerakowitz. Out of nowhere, Bowser sucks everyone up into his mighty belly.

Now lost inside the mighty Bowser, Mario and Luigi must work together to try and escape Bowser’s stomach. Along the way, the dynamic duo will have plenty of help available since Bowser has not only sucked up Mario and Luigi, but also a wide array of citizens. When it’s all said and done, this is Mario and Luigi’s biggest adventure yet.

Much like Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, Mario and Luigi RPG 3 is played using both screens. The top screen displays the Koopa King as he adventures throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, whereas the bottom screen plays home to Mario and Luigi as they try and work their way out of Bowser’s stomach.

The two different sides of the quest have effects on each other. For example, Mario and Luigi can pinch nerves inside Bowser’s body to send him into a frenzy or touch a muscle to power-up the Koopa King. You see, even though Bowser sucked Mario and Luigi up, as well as a bunch of other Mushroom Kingdom residents, he actually has no idea about what is happening inside him!

Bowser’s gameplay can best be described as an action RPG. Players move Bowser around in an over-head perspective, using his trademark flame breathe to clear trees and punching blocks and other obstacles to open new paths.

Mario and Luigi, on the other hand, operate a little differently. For starters, the game switches to side scrolling as you control both characters simultaneously. Both characters will respond to your D-pad inputs, but Mario and Luigi each have their own unique attack button. Some of the commands at their disposal are jumping, which can be used to evade enemies and hit blocks to collect coins, and an attack that uses their hammers to smash obstacles.

For those new to the series, the battle system is turn-based and utilizes timed hits similar to the Paper Mario series and Super Mario RPG. Players use precise timing to inflict extra damage as well as completely block or avoid enemy attacks. Enemies use visual cues to show the player whether they're going to attack either Mario or Luigi as well as what attack they're going to perform. It's a fantastic system that requires much more player interaction than your average turn-based RPG.

Since Bowser’s all alone on the top screen, he gets to take advantage of both attack buttons. When attacking enemies, they’re used to breathe flames at the enemy as well as punch them. While defending himself, the buttons make Bowser duck his shell to avoid projectiles from above whereas he’ll just punch enemies coming directly at him.

The game also includes touch screen controls this time around. On the bottom screen, Mario and Luigi will have to deflect certain attacks using the stylus. When Bowser fights on top, every so often the DS will be flipped sideways into "book mode," with Bowser on the touch screen and the enemy on the right. Players then use the stylus to direct his flames and repel enemies. You might even judge the strength of Bowser's flame by how long you can blow into the microphone.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga was one of the best Game Boy Advance game released in North America and its sequel, Partners in Time, claimed the same spot on the DS. Both titles raised the bar for portable RPGs and Mario and Luigi 3 is no exception. It may not be the typical Mario platformer we all know and love, but hey, the game still offers plenty of fun. The game has already shattered the lifetime sales of its predecessors in Japan, where it has gone on to sell over 600,000 units. We've only spent as short time with the game but we can tell you that it's shaping up to be the best Mario & Luigi adventure to date, and all being well, western gamers will have it in their hands before 2009 draws to a close.

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User Comments (25)



Damo said:

I'm really looking forward to this, loved the first two games! Nice impressions!



Corbs said:

I went ahead and imported this one myself. Maybe someday I'll get around to actually playing it.




Not my kind of game (as I have retired myself from RPGs some time ago), but this a potential top top quality game. "Gold Award standard" and all that.



Mayhem said:

Enjoyed the first two enormously, so this is a sure fire buy when it comes out in the West.



Jeroen1 said:

I hope it comes out before my summer break. Wouldn't want to play something like Chrono Trigger in Greece. Not that there's anything wrong with that..



Objection said:

Thanks for the impressions. I expect a NA/PAL release date to be announced at E3.



Esposch said:

So is this better than Superstar Saga?
I heard Partners in Time was grindy.



Philip_J_Reed said:

The fat toads in the picture are the best thing ever.

Actually, to be more specific, the fat toad with the mustache is the BEST THING EVER



Jeroen1 said:

Esposch: Partners in Time was a bit of a letdown to me after the superb SS. Less mini-games, not nearly as funny supporting characters (though they will fix that with 3) and more focus on basic action. The only time I had to 'grind' was during the final palace though, that's what I like about these games.



Knux said:

I have been watching this game for a LONG time. Come on NOA,release this game! They have to announce something about it at E3!



pixelman said:

Question: Is it for the DSi only? I'm praying that I can get it for my DSLite.

I played the death out of the GBA one, but I never played the sequel.



MarkyVigoroth said:

As far as know, this is DSNitro/Lite-friendly.

(Now if only there was a muscley Bowser in this game, since there is a fat Bowser here...)



Corbs said:

The only "DSi Exclusives" are basically the downloadable DSiWare titles, as the DS doesn't have the capability to download the games. DS retail titles will all work on both the DSi and regular DS systems. Now some might choose to include features or extra content at some point that would be exclusive to the DSi system, but won't affect the game playing on the regular DS systems.



Corbs said:

Sean does most of the Japanese stuff because he has a Japanese Wii console. Since the DS is region-free, anyone can import some Japanese titles and preview them. That and we also get in preview builds from time to time which we can also try out.



Esposch said:

@ Jeroen
I actually asked my friend today what he thought, and he said it was worse mainly because of the hub system opposed to the open-ness of the first, and also the levels themselves are more linear. I've only played Superstar Saga, and if this is even better then Nintendo just won my moneys.
Also what do you mean by "more focus on basic action?"



Stijnco said:

I don't like the fact that you are in Bowsers stomach for most of the time, but oh well, I'm still going to get it because I enjoyed the other Mario and Luigi games so much!



Pastry said:

No matter how good this one is, it can't beat Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. That was the BEST GAME EVER!!

Anyway, they better change the title to something good. Mario and Luigi 3 just sounds... Bleh.



Slapshot said:

I cant wait to control Bowser again. He was a blast to play in the original Mario and Luigi RPG.

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